African rue (Peganum harmala) is an unpalatable, drought resistant shrub with a deep perennial root. It out-competes native fodder shrubs and grasses in the rangelands grazing areas.
- shrub with stiff-branched stems, from 150 to 600mm high
- leaves are bright green and succulent, arranged alternately on the stems
- leaves have a disagreeable odour when crushed
- white flowers about 25mm in diameter, borne singly among the leaves
- flowers form into a three chambered capsule (fruit) opening at the top with 45–60 seeds per fruit
- roots are deep-branched and perennial
Why is it a problem?
- once established is difficult to control
- highly unpalatable to stock and rabbits. Alkaloid poisoning has been reported but is rare as the plant is so inedible
- drought tolerant and competes with pastures for moisture and nutrients
- shown to inhibit growth of other vegetation
- difficult to control once established
- isolated patches with the Murraylands and Riverland region
- predominantly in marginal cropping country and northern grazing areas.
How is it spread?
Seeds can be moved by:
- surface water
- mud adhering to animals
- farm machinery and vehicles
- animal dung
- can occur when pieces of the rootstock are severed and moved during cultivation